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Experimentation on animals and particularly humans is often assumed to be a uniquely modern phenomenon. But the ideas and attitudes that encourage the biological and medical sciences to experiment on living creatures date from the earliest expression of Western thought. In Animal and Human Experimentation, Anita Guerrini looks at the history of these practices from vivisection in ancient Alexandria to present-day battles over animal rights and medical research employing human subjects.
Guerrini discusses in-depth key historical episodes in the use of living beings in science and medicine, including the discovery of blood circulation, the development of smallpox and polio vaccines, and recent AIDS research. She also explores the rise of the antivivisection movement in Victorian England, the modern animal rights movement, and current debates over gene therapy. In this highly accessible text, we learn how our understanding of an animal's capacity to feel pain has evolved. Guerrini reminds us that the ethical values of science seldom stray far from those of the society in which scientists live and work.
Ethical questions about the use of animals and humans in research remain among the most vexing within both the scientific community and society at large. These often rancorous arguments have gone on, however, with little awareness of their historical antecedents. Animal and Human Experimentation offers students and concerned general readers on every side of this debate a context within which to understand more fully the responsibility we all bear for the suffering inflicted on other living beings in the name of scientific knowledge.
1. Bodies of Evidence: Experimentation and Philosophical Debate in Premodern Europe
2. Animals, Machines, and Morals
3. Disrupting God's Plan
4. Cruelty and Kindness
5. The Microbe Hunters
6. Polio and Primates
Conclusion: Human Rights, Animals Rights, and the Conduct of Science
Suggested Further Reading
Anita Guerrini is an associate professor in the Program in Environmental Studies and the Department of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
"An excellent survey of human experimentation on both humans and animals. Her attention to interactions between experimenters and the societies in which they live offers a valuable sociohistorical context for understanding today's ethical debates over cloning, genetic engineering, and the breeding of animals to supply human body parts [...] A fine interdisciplinary work."
"Anyone who has been frustrated by the lack of a general undergraduate text on the history of human and animal experimentation will be pleased to discover Anita Guerrini's book [...] her book will be essential to beginning students in the history of biology and medicine, to anyone interested in the historical development of human-animal relationships or the history of animal welfare, and to practicing biologists, in particular physiologists, who wish to understand both historic and current debates about the use of animals in the laboratory."
– Elizabeth Hanson – Journal of the History of Biology
"Unique, succinct, and informative [...] It is rare to mix the stories of animal and human research together, and this joint history has been little understood and appreciated among even modern day discussants [...] The history is well drawn and accurate. Inserts illustrating important historical documents provide a feel of the times and thinking under discussion. The mixture of history and ethics makes this appropriate both for mentors and young Martin Arrowsmiths."
– John P. Gluck – Journal of the American Medical Association"Within its confines, the author presented a balanced review of historical highlights (perhaps also lowlifes depending on perspective) surrounding animal and human vivisection and use in research
"[...] This was a great read and I recommend it to all."
– Mark Klinger – Laboratory Animal Practitioner
"A compelling and engaging account of the ways experiments have been conducted on animals and humans from the time of Galen to the present. [Guerrini's] book is crucial not only for understanding the changing value placed on experiments over time but also because it invaluable deepens our knowledge of the history of medicine."
– Journal of the History of Medicine
"The selected historical episodes involve individuals who are so eccentric [...] and experiments that are so shocking [...] that Guerrini's book reads like a work of historical fiction and, in turn, is highly engaging. This, or course, is not to be understood as a challenge to the work's historical veracity; rather, it is to be understood as a tribute to the captivating nature of the subject matter as well as the way in which that subject matter is presented [...] one cannot help but find Experimenting to be highly engaging [...] But being engaging isn't the book's only virtue. It also reminds us of and underscores a number of important issues closely tied to the contemporary debate on human and nonhuman animal experimentation [...] Guerrini's highly engaging, informative treatment on the history of the Western world's experimentation with humans and nonhuman animals is strongly recommended."
– Robert P. Lovering – Medical Humanities Review
"Unique, succinct, and informative book [...] the history is well drawn and accurate [...] The mixture of history and ethics makes the book appropriate both for mentors and young Martin Arrowsmiths."
– John P. Gluck, PhD – JAMA
"Guerrini does a fine job of putting the anatomy and physiology studies of Galen, Harvey and Vesalius, and the vaccination work of Jenner, Pasteur, Koch and Salk in historical context."
– George J. Annas – Nature Medicine
"Well-written, highly accessible, and highlighting the major trends, events, and people in the history of Western medicine, experimental biology, and physiology, Experimenting with Humans and Animals is an excellent introductory text in the history of science or medicine."
– Dominique A. Tobbell – Journal of Interdisciplinary History
"This book offers a cogently argued and impressively written history of human and animal experimentation since antiquity that explores with grace and sensitivity the philosophical, ethical and social issues raised by research on living creatures."
– Susan E. Lederer, Ph.D., Yale University School of Medicine
"A fascinating tour through the history of animal experimentation, with reference to human experimentation for perspective."
– Norman M. Goldfarb – Journal of Clinical Research Best Practices